Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester (GCVO) visited Witley in her capacity as President of Bridewell Royal Hospital, the charitable foundation that operates King Edward’s Witley and, following their recent merger, Barrow Hills School.
On her arrival at Barrow Hills for the inaugural visit, HRH The Duchess of Gloucester was received by Mrs Karin Sehmer, Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, who presented Matthew Unsworth, Headmaster at Barrow Hills School, the School’s senior team, Head Boy, Matthew Illsley and Head Girl, Maddy Gook. Her Royal Highness visited the science laboratories and dance studio, saw maths, drama and mind-mapping activities with a range of children from years five to eight, before concluding with a whole-school assembly in the School’s Chapel.
During her visit to King Edward’s Witley, Her Royal Highness officially reopened Queen Mary House (QMH), which has undergone a £1m programme of refurbishment and investment to create an outstanding co-educational boarding and day house for the Lower School (years seven and eight). QMH represents one of the School’s most iconic buildings, enjoying a 148-year history, having been built as a convalescent home in 1867. The newly-refurbished house provides superb accommodation for up to 40 boys and girls who board on a full-time, weekly or occasional basis as well as providing a base and facilities for a further 40 local day pupils. During her visit, Her Royal Highness met the principal architect, David Brazier of OSP Architects, and the main contractor, Janos Draviczki, before being given a tour of the house by the House Captains, Daniel Pieterse (13) and Ella Anderson (12) and meeting many of the school’s 400 pupils assembled outside in the sunshine.
Commenting on the royal visit, John Attwater, Headmaster at King Edward’s Witley said: “It has been a wonderful day. We are naturally delighted that HRH The Duchess of Gloucester has been able to be with us today to open the wonderful new Queen Mary House and of course to spend time with the staff and pupils and celebrate our new partnership with Barrow Hills School as part of the Bridewell Royal Hospital Foundation”.